Since the last update last week on the norovirus outbreak linked to two El Toro Restaurant locations in the Tacoma, WA area, more than 100 additional cases have been reported.
According to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, a total of 542 cases–520 from the Tacoma location and 22 suspect cases from the University Place location. There is lab confirmation of norovirus from the Tacoma location.
Norovirus is a highly contagious viral illness that often goes by other names, such as viral gastroenteritis, stomach flu, and food poisoning.
The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and some stomach cramping. Sometimes people additionally have a low-grade fever, chills,headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness. The illness often begins suddenly, and the infected person may feel very sick. In most people, the illness is self-limiting with symptoms lasting for about 1 or 2 days. In general, children experience more vomiting than adults do.
Norovirus is spread person to person particularly in crowded, closed places. Norovirus is typically spread through contaminated food and water, touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then putting your hand or fingers in your mouth and close contact with someone who is vomiting or has diarrhea.